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Missy Layfield - Editor
12/29/2011 at 3:37pm Delete

Another trip around the sun completed.

It’s that time of year when we often take stock of the past year and focus on the new one. In this issue you will find a summary of island news from 2011. It was a busy one. What 2012 might bring is unknown. Generally we face the future by using the lessons of the past to plot a course through whatever challenges we will face. And there will be challenges, there always are.

One of the most useful lessons we learn is optimism. Optimism which comes from surmounting challenges that we weren’t sure were surmountable. That leads to confidence to face whatever comes next.

Some Island successes over the past year are worthy of note and may prove helpful when looking at challenges our Island still faces.

Seafarer’s, the once bustling shopping mall, later an abandoned shell, was purchased by Lee County and torn down. The Town of Fort Myers Beach was unsuccessful in their efforts to convince the County to turn the property over to the Town so the area might be used to ease traffic congestion somehow. There are plans to pave the area as a parking lot, but with permitting and zoning issues, that won’t be happening anytime soon. A year ago, we all had to overlook the derelict shell as we came over the bridge. This year, we’re looking at an empty lot with potential to ease either the parking crunch or traffic congestion. In any case, it beats looking an old building surrounded by orange fencing.

The north end of Estero Blvd has been finished by the Town on budget and faster than planned. It’s a beauty, with sidewalks, bike lanes and lighting. It makes you wish that you could pull out your magic wand and make the rest of Estero Blvd look just like it instantly.

12/22/2011 at 4:22pm Delete

The holiday season is filled with traditions. We do the same things each year, each repetition building on previous memories. For many of us those traditions include the retelling of favorite stories that touch on universal themes.

"It’s a Wonderful Life,” "How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” "White Christmas,” "Miracle on 34th Street,” "A Christmas Story.” The list is long and we each have our personal Top Ten list.

One of the most enduring Christmas stories has to be "A Charlie Brown Christmas” featuring Charlie Brown in his first TV appearance (1965) searching for the meaning of Christmas. Poor Charlie Brown recognizes that he is lacking the excitement of the season. Something is missing.

He looks around him and sees commercialization everywhere, even his beloved Snoopy gets involved in an over the top holiday lights contest. His sister asks him to write a letter to Santa telling him to "just send money.” Lucy’s 5-cent psychiatric advice leads him to directing the school Christmas show and we all know how well that goes.

Finally, Charlie has had all he can take; he throws down his director’s megaphone and cries, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Linus steps forward and recites the story of the birth of the Christ Child from the Gospel of Luke reminding Charlie Brown and the rest of us of the real meaning of Christmas, ending with…
12/15/2011 at 4:36pm Delete
The beach renourishment project is nearly complete on the north end of the island.
This project, in the works for years and subject of much debate, has finally reached Crescent Beach Family Park.
Soon the dredge and bulldozers will be gone, leaving behind a beautiful wide beach.
Since the project reached the public beach parks, there has been an increase in interest, questions and misunderstandings. Which is why we hope our regular readers bear with us as we run multiple stories about the project to keep residents and visitors informed.
It only takes one visit to the Lynn Hall Pier to reveal the curiosity and confusion of visitors.
"Why did they close the beach?”
"Why would they do this during tourist season?”
"Why is that hole with the green water there?”
Why are those machines on the beach?”
While beach projects are a fact of life for Floridians, visitors are not as savvy. Beach restoration serves several purposes, among them storm protection along with the more obvious recreational beach widening. And it's a regular occurrence along tourist beaches in our corner of the Gulf.
12/08/2011 at 3:51pm Delete

The Advent of Season.

That seems to be turned around. Shouldn’t it be The Season of Advent?

The Season of Advent for Christians is the four-week season of reflection prior to the celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a confusing time for Christians, what with the secular celebration of Christmas beginning in about August. It’s hard to focus on the spiritual anticipation, expectation and hope that symbolize Advent while being bombarded with Christmas Muzak, sidewalk-Santa’s and dancing trees around every corner.

The irony is that by the time the religious Christmas season arrives, which begins on December 24 and runs through the 12 days of Christmas to Epiphany on January 6, the rest of the world has moved on to gift returns and white sales.

And yes, Virginia, there really are "Twelve Days of Christmas,” and they have nothing to do with turtledoves or leaping lords.

I like Christmas, everything about Christmas-the spiritual and the secular. The decorations, the cookies, the songs, the way it seems to turn grumpy people into happy people, even if only for a little while.

It’s just a bit confusing. I recently read an essay that suggested we celebrate a secular holiday called X-mas that includes Santa and elves and such, and a Christmas holiday for the religious/spiritual observance. There is some merit to that concept.

More merit than the crowd that whines about how Christmas (the religious one) has been stolen by either commercialism or the politically correct camp. And they want it back!

I’ve got news, it’s not being stolen, it was stolen. Long ago. That train has left the station, is around the bend and over the mountain by now.

Celebrate what you want. Let others celebrate what they want. Not everyone is a Christian.